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Knowing Some of the Basic Plumbing Repairs

by Guest on Jan 10, 2013

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Or, translated into plumbing-speak, a few bucks and some regular maintenance could prolong the life of your fixtures, save you thousands in water damage repair and prevent the mold and mildew that can sprout from wayward water.

Here are some of the basic plumbing repairs you should know about

Check Water Pressure

Water pressure and ignorance cause more plumbing problems than anything else. The ideal range for a house is 50 to 70 pounds per square inch, or psi. Too much pressure can cause leaks and damage fixtures. Too little makes for slow flow and inadequate water delivery.

Track pressure with a gauge, and keep your water pressure in the optimum range with a regulator or booster if needed. Pressure regulators equalize the flow of water after it moves through the meter and before it enters your supply system; conversely, a booster gives slow-flowing water an extra bit of oomph by increasing the pressure.

Check Interior and Exterior Hoses

A rubber washing machine hose can, over time, develop a bubble and rupture. When the water is on, even if the machine isn't running, the hose has constant pressure. When the hose blows, it's spilling out water at a rate of about five gallons per minute. It's a good idea to replace rubber hoses with metal braided hose.

It is recommended to periodically checking for signs of wear or deterioration on hoses that run from the kitchen sink to refrigerator ice makers and dishwashers.

Tiled Shower & Bath Surrounds

Tiled showers and bath surrounds should ideally be resealed every year with new caulking. Once inside the wall, the water can cause mold or mildew or rot the drywall. Towel-drying the tiles after every shower keeps the grout from staining and deteriorating. Whenever you notice cracked, missing or otherwise deteriorated sections of grout or caulk, it's time to regrout and recaulk the entire shower or bath surround. The same is true for tiled bathroom floors and tiled counters and backsplashes around kitchen and bathroom sinks.

Kitchen Sink and Disposal

Disposals are wonderful conveniences but they can pose challenges to your DWV system if not used correctly. Always use a large volume of water when running food scraps through your disposal. Fill the basin full of water and food scraps before running the disposal to reduce wear and tear and extend the life of the appliance. When the scraps are gone, fill the basin with water and run the disposal again.
Skip the bleach and expensive toilet bowl cleaners. Vinegar poured straight into the overflow tube — not in the tank — will clean without damaging the fixture and will eat away at calcium deposits in the pipes. Wait at least an hour before flushing to let the vinegar do its job.

Clean hard-water buildup from showerheads by mixing a vinegar-and-water solution in a plastic bag, tying the bag onto the showerhead and soaking for 10 minutes. It keeps the water flowing freely and makes the fixture shine.

Water Heater

Flushing your water heater annually to remove sediment can both maintain water quality and extend the water heater's life. Over time, calcium, rust and iron deposits settle to the bottom of the tank and continue piling up until they are rinsed out. This kills the life of your water heater.

Flushing is a fairly simple procedure, regardless of skill level. Be sure to cut electricity to the water heater first. Shut off the incoming water supply at the top of the water heater. Connect a hose with the drain port present at the base of the heater and open a hot water fixture somewhere in the house to bring air into the line. The pressure of incoming air will push out the water. Drain the water into a bucket or a nearby utility sink until the water runs clear and free of dirt and sediment.

The Reward of Diligence

Keeping a close eye on your plumbing is just good financial sense. Your attention can pay off in both big and small ways, by facilitating more efficient water use and preventing costly water damage.

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